I am away early heading for Beinn Dearg ( Ullapool) way with Dan Carrol for a wander, too see how the body holds up and how the hills are doing now that winter is here? The forecast is not too good and its raining so we will see what the day brings. Anyway to be up North even for a drive will be grand, We may look at Beinn Dearg (Red Hill) a hill with huge cliffs and a big Coire on its far eastern side that few see Corrie Ghranda and a ‘massive famine wall’ on its western shoulder built by the poor destitute people for food in the 1840’s. It can be a tricky summit to find in winter and has some classic winter climbs on the cliffs. I snow holed here many years ago before and adventure on these cliffs. The photo below was three years ago after a long walk in but what a Corrie, the Loch was frozen and made it a wilder place to be than normal!
On the walk in you pass the Inverael Cliffs and some of the classic winter climbs like Emerald Gully and penguin Gully that Tom Patey that famous local climbing doctor and his friends opened up in the 60’s. Further on and over the other side over the beleach 2 -3 hours walk is Coire Ghranda in where few visit yet has so many ice climbs that make the walk in worth the long walk in.Mick Fowler the famous English climber climbed in here many years ago and this is wild country.
There are three other Munros nearby collectively known as the Deargs and these are wonderful hills at any time of year but a winter ascent of any is special. In the distance is another favourite Seana Bhraigh a Munro that competes with A ‘ Mhaighdean as one of the remotest Munros. We may get a view but in winter anything is a bonus?
Tonight is Clavie night in Burghead (The Broch) and the wee village will be busy as many come and see this annual fire festival to celebrate the Pictish New Year! The village doubles to twice the size in this small coastal town and many come from far and wide to see the spectacle. It will be good fun as the lighted barrel is displayed through the town! The weather looks wild so it will be an interesting night. The Clavie final preparations are under way in Burghead In . Thousands are attracted to the Broch for the annual event, which sees a tar-soaked barrel set alight and paraded around the streets to ward off evil spirits for the year ahead.The flaming spectacle of January 11 is led by Clavie King Dan Ralph and the local men who make up the Clavie Crew. At exactly 6pm on Saturday, a burning peat will be used to light the Clavie before it is heaved onto the shoulders of crew members and marched around the town. It is some ceremony and if the winds are high an incredible sight
I sometimes have lots of visitors in my tiny house and we usually have a great night, It will be fun to see the old traditions despite all the Health & Safety/ Fire Safety etc still going all after all these years?
See you tonight when I get back from the hills.